Much of the wedding planning process is fun…choosing your colors, choosing your tablescape and place settings, and of course – choosing your dress! Some things aren’t as fun, though…like getting your marriage license. But it’s SUPER important. That little document is what makes your marriage legal 🙂
Each state has its own requirements, so it’s important to do your research to see what your particular state requires. In the meantime, here are some additional tips to consider:
- Apply for your marriage license from the county in which you are getting married in. Even if you live in a different county or a different state, you need to apply for your marriage license in the county in which your wedding is taking place.
- Don’t wait until the last minute! This is sooo important. Sometimes this process can be long and require a ton of paperwork, so you want to remember to research the requirements several months in advance of your wedding date.
- Again…timing is everything. While you want to do your research early, you don’t want to apply for one too early because many marriage licenses are only valid for a short time period. I generally advise brides to have their license 2-3 weeks prior to their wedding date.
- Understand that there is likely a fee involved. Like most things in life, obtaining your marriage license isn’t free. It usually costs anywhere from $25-100, which isn’t a whole lot in comparison to the rest of your wedding, but you do want to remember to budget for this.
- Ask questions. Most of the info you need can be found online, but if something is unclear, don’t be afraid to call the county/clerk’s office. They’ll answer your question for you, which will save you time (and a headache) later.
- Don’t forget it! You need to bring your marriage license with you to your Ceremony (unless your Officiant asks for it in advance). You’ll also need to designate a witness as you sign the license. Typically, this is your Maid of Honor and Best Man.
- Hang on to it. Once you send it in, you want to request a few copies of the certificate, especially if you plan on changing your name, because you’ll need to provide proof of the marriage. And be sure to keep at least one copy safe (i.e., in a fire-proof safe).
While you will need to check with your specific county for additional requirements, here are some links to get you started (focusing on the Southern US since this is mainly where Bespoken Brides get married…but this list may update as we expand!):
- South Carolina Marriage License Requirements
- North Carolina Marriage License Requirements
- Georgia Marriage License Requirements
- Tennessee Marriage License Requirements
- Florida Marriage License Requirements
Hope this helps!!! And don’t forget – as an official Bespoken Bride, you get more tips like this and more 😉